Community vs. four year: The differences when transferring from one to the other

Choosing which college to go to can be a hard decision. Some people go to Cowley just so that they can get their associates degree, but most people use it as a stepping-stone to a four-year university.

Going to Cowley has some obvious advantages. The biggest being the small price. One also gets other things such as a smaller student-to-teacher ratio, a better sense of community, and the opportunity to stay at home if you are close by.

Taking the step to a larger university can be intimidating. There are a lot more people and one goes from being a big fish in a small pond to just another student.

Despite a lot of the perceptions about community colleges, they are not easier. Community colleges are full of very intelligent people. At the University of Berkley, 33 percent of the applicants from community colleges were accepted compared to 22 percent of the applicants from high school students. Most of the people I have talked to say that the entry level and general education classes offered at Cowley meet the standards of four year universities.

“Having both attended KU for a semester and an obvious bias in terms of the type of schooling I prefer, I would have to say that neither KU nor Cowley has classes harder than the other one,” said Nick Kadau, freshman, who recently transferred from KU. “The amount of education is the same, but what it really comes down to is the amount of time and dedication you put into your work.”

Even though most of the general education classes are the same, students who are transferring should still expect a big change after they get their two-year degree. Once you are done with your general education classes and focus more on your major, the classes often become more difficult.

“The classes are harder,” said Alex Skov, a Cowley graduate now attending Baker University. “A lot of that is because I am taking upper level classes. I had some entry level classes that are on par [with Cowley] but the curriculum is nothing compared to 300 or 400 level classes.”

Big schools can offer a very different atmosphere from local colleges. Especially schools like KU and K-State that take students from all over the world. Cowley does bring in international students but most of the students are from the Kansas and Oklahoma region.

“Small colleges have less diversity,” said Chris Robinette, a former Cowley student who transferred to K-State. “Cowley does a good job of diversity however. At a small college you get a sense of community. Everyone in the Cowley dorms knew each other. Even at my apartment I don’t know my neighbors.”

One of the biggest differences between the classes at community colleges and four-year universities is the class size. The small community colleges classes offer a much better student teacher relationship then a big college. Some universities have lecture- style classes with hundreds of students so individualized help is almost impossible.

So despite all of the talk about the differences between the two, community colleges are not that much different. A Cowley graduate should have nothing to fear when heading to a four-year university.

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